Do you find yourself looking at the exterior of your home and thinking that it looks dull? All of us get to the point when we feel our house needs a little freshening up, so you’re not alone. You could set about doing some extensive remodeling, but a more cost-effective option may be to change your home’s exterior color scheme.

This can totally transform the appearance of your home and give it some real visual appeal, particularly if you choose colors that accentuate your house’s strengths and minimize its weaknesses.

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Color Scheme

If this sounds like a good idea, then the first thing to do is to look at the elements of your house that you cannot change – for instance, brickwork, stonework and the roof. Whatever color scheme you choose, it will have to coordinate with these – so there is no point in painting the trim of your house plum if you have stonework with a yellowish cast. You also want to make sure that your house doesn’t clash with those of your neighbors – while you want to give your house a distinctive look, you don’t want it to stand out like a sore thumb from all the other houses on your street. Finally, when you are choosing your colors, keep in mind where you live. While bright colors may look fine in sunny southern locations – where the sun tends to wash colors out – these can look garish if you live further north, where the sun is weaker. For instance, bright yellow may look fine in somewhere like New Mexico, but vinyl siding in Missouri and Kansas needs to be more muted.

Once you have some idea of what colors to avoid, then you need to pick the main color for your house. One thing to remember here is that if you choose a dark color, this will make your house look smaller, whereas if you choose a lighter color, then your house will seem larger. Also, don’t feel that you are locked into your existing color if you have vinyl siding – it is perfectly possible to paint this, provided that you pick the right type of paint. On the other hand, this is a good time to replace that vinyl siding if it is getting near to the end of its useful life – and you can always take the opportunity to install extra insulation under it at the same time, which will end up cutting your energy bills.

Trim

Once you have selected your main color, then it is time to choose the color for your door and window trim. You want this to coordinate with your main color, but this doesn’t mean that it has to be a lighter or darker shade of the same tone. In fact, if you choose a contrasting color, this can really make your house stand out, provided that the color doesn’t clash with your main color. If you have a Victorian style house, you may also want to choose a third color for your shutters and architectural accents – if you do this, it will make your house look more ornate, which is in keeping with the Victorian style.

Garage Door

Once you have reached this point, then you have one big decision left – what color should you paint your garage door? The obvious choice may seem to be to paint it the same color as your trim, but you should avoid this if you choose a contrasting trim color. If you do this, this will make your garage the central focus of your entire house – which is not a good thing to do. Instead, paint your garage door the same color as your siding. If you really want to make the garage inconspicuous, then paint the trim around it the same color as your siding as well.

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 Finally, before you even think about actually starting to paint, you need to make absolutely certain that your color selection will look good once it is on your house. There is nothing worse than completing a paint job, only to find that the final result looks unflattering. One good way of checking that your colors are well chosen is to take a digital photograph of your house, and then use a photo-editing package such as Photoshop to recolor the image with the colors that you have chosen. Another good alternative is to use an online color visualization tool from one of the major paint manufacturers – for example, try this one from Benjamin Moore.